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July 1, 2011

Szechuan Buzz Buttons


From the website:


Szechuan Buttons (aka Sechuan Buttons, Sichuan Buttons, Buzz Buttons, Toothache plant, Acmella Oleracea) are an unusual food in that their primary use is not nutrition or flavor but rather to impart a sensation to food and drink. They possess a slightly bitter, herby flavor that isn’t unusual, but a few seconds after consuming them something very interesting begins to happen in the mouth:

Eating a few tiny petals from a Szechuan button (pinched off between thumb and forefinger or cut using a knife or shears) will lead to a tingling sensation…almost like mild voltage or bubbles from an effervescent beverage popping on the tongue. It is similar to (but much more intense than) the tingling imparted by Szechuan peppercorns, which is how this flower gets its Chinese name, despite originally being from Africa.

Part of the secret of this effect may be that these flowers contain a natural painkiller sometimes used to numb toothache (hence their other nickname: toothache plant). It is not unpleasant, but surprising, and sharing just a small pinch with friends will cause a look of confused wonder.



30 for $44.


July 1, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink


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Oh, old (2E,6Z,8E)-deca-2,6,8-trienoic acid! Did Chef Chang use some at your tasting dinner?

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jul 1, 2011 4:27:59 PM

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